{Paris part 5: C&G’s operation maximum pastry consumption}

Woke up in the morning to over a million people on strike in Paris.. not something you see everyday (government decision to raise retirement age from 60 to 62). I found it funny that there were lots of young students striking, since they would still have about 40 years, before they even think of retirement – probably an excuse to skip school..

After squeezing our way through the crowd, I headed over to one of the biggest luxury food stores in Paris, La Grand Epicurie, a part of the Au Bon Marche department store…

I walked in the sliding doors and stood there in awe, like a little kid in a candy store…unsure of where to start.. they had EVERYTHING in here…Cheese deli, seafood, loose leaf teas, biscuits, oils and vinegars, confections.. they had it all!

I picked up a few food gifts to bring home and picked up a selection of sweets from their pastry case..including this eclair cafecoffee cream filled center in a tender choux pastry and glazed with a gorgeous caramel colored coffee scented glaze..

As well as this square called simply “gateaux” – an opera cake layered with light matcha sponge, rich milk chocolate ganache, and topped with a balsamic raspberry gelee… oh dear me…loved the combination of the flavours here… it tasted as good as it looked..

..as well as this GIANT pistachio macaron (one of my favourite flavours).. you can’t tell in the picture..

I put it next to a regular sized macaron to show the size difference..macaron on steriods?! It was every bit as delicious as the mini one..times 4!

The boy opted for a non-pastry lunch and had stopped in his tracks at this boulangerie the moment he saw the storefront..

He went with a ham and cheese sandwich..not just a regular cheese, but swiss AND giant slices of creamy melt in your mouth camembert between a light freshly baked herb bun. His favourite sandwich of the trip..

This area of Paris is filled with all my “must go to” places to eat.. including the infamous Poilane bakery.. reknowned to have the best bread in Paris. The small store is tucked in on a not so busy street, but was easy to spot with the mini lineup of people they had coming out of the store..

They specialize in bread using the best of the old and new techniques – called “Retro Innovation“.  Their ingredients are simple. Using sea salt from Guérande, flour that is exclusively stone-ground using the very best varieties of wheat. And, each new batch uses a piece of dough from the previous batch of bread – the sourdough and they bake our breads in wood-fired ovens. A Poilane loaf is easy to spot, it’s a huge dense crusty brown round with their signature “P” drawn on it.

…of course you can’t leave Poilane without buying a batch of their buttery and delightful “punitions” – small little butter cookies made with flour, butter, sugar and eggs..Perfect with a cafe creme or tea..The perfect gift for my grandpa 🙂

I love their packaging here too..simple, elegant and classic..

Behold.. the BEST tarte aux pommes we’ve EVER had. After we purchased it, we immediately dug right in while standing outside of the store. The best buttery puff pastry – so perfectly flaky and crisp (making that lovely crunch sound when your teeth sunk into it) and sweet caramelized apple wedges atop a layer of sweet apple compote… if I were to choose on of my last meals to eat.. this would have to be my dessert..

Seeing as we could not finish a whole round of their bread, I picked up a small pain au raisin – a dense sourdough studded with tons of sweet juicy raisins…it was the perfect breakfast with a cup of tea the next morning..

Next up, a newer patisserie in Paris – Hugo & Victor. I’ve been reading nothing but rave reviews on this store all across the blog world, so to finally stand in front of it after reading details on all their lovely pastry and sweet offerings...I could hardly contain myself 🙂

Many stores in Paris do not let you take photos of the interior, so here is one I found here.

They treat their pastries here like high-end jewelry, lit from above behind a glass case that is integrated into the wall. I felt like I had just stepped into a Dolce and Gabbana store, the packaging was just as impressive..

I picked up a box of ten macarons in their seasonal flavours, starting from left to right: chocolate, prailine ginger, caramel, lemongrass, citrus verbena, dark plum, earl grey tea, grapefruit, mango and vanilla..

A bit smaller and “puffier” than the ones at Laduree, but the flavours of these were amazing. Each sandwiching a creamy ganache, velvety marscapone or fruit filled center. I dug right in and ate the earl grey tea macaron, decorated with tea leaves on top..delightful. My other favourites were the lemongrass for its unique and refreshing flavour and the prailine ginger with just the right amount of nuttiness to spice.

..I also got their “Book of Spheres”  – a selection of 12 of their dome chocolates.. pearlescent little works of art..thin shells of chocolate filled with seasonal fruit ganaches..

Of course I could not leave here without trying some of their pastries..

After much contemplation, I decided to go with two of the classics. This one is called the Hugo chocolat. Tonka bean infused cream atop of rich dark chocolate twice-baked biscuit that is soaked in lime. The tonka bean is used in desserts and cooking as an alternative to vanilla, its fragrance is reminiscent of vanilla, almonds, clove and cinnamon – a perfect match to the lighter than air texture of the chocolate. The complexity of this dessert is unreal. The rich creamy chocolate, aromatic tonka bean and sweet citrus acidity of the lime work together like an orchestra of chocolate-ly pleasure.

…one cannot but help admire the architectural quality of this dessert. Simple, modern and luxurious..

..topped with a single golden almond on top..

I loved that each layer had its own distinct flavour and texture, yet they blended well and in perfect harmony when it all melted in your mouth.

Next was the Victor Vanille – a light delicate choux pastry filled with a creamy thick tahitian vanilla pastry cream, topped with a vanilla bean fondant.

Each end decorated with their logo in gold on a chocolate disc…

Look at those lovely flecks of vanilla bean. Rich and luscious without being overly sweet. A seemingly simple dessert which allows you to enjoy the flavour of vanilla at its best.

The last stop on my pastry tour was La Patisserie des Reves, a futuristic gallery of pastries, where each pastry is featured under a temperature controlled dome and lit from above like a highly coveted museum art piece. They feature a variety of seasonal cakes and tarts, some of which are inspired from classic desserts, but re-imagined.

Here is a picture of the interior, the whole store is so beautifully designed. How it works is you pick your dessert from one of the displays, then the staff goes to the back and brings you one freshly made. There are even instructions on how soon you should consume each pastry..

Look at the size of that brioche below..

Image source

Since I went a little crazy at Hugo and Victor, I decided to just settle with ONE pastry…

Behold…the Grand Cru – chocaholics everywhere, this NEEDS to be on your list of “things to eat before you die“… this square was the most unbelievably delicious chocolate dessert EVER!!! And believe me, I’ve had my fair share of chocolately delights..

Multiple layers of Venezuelan light as air chocolate mousse, rich chocolate ganache and chocolate biscuit atop of thin and crispy praliné croustillant, which is then enrobed in a glossy chocolate exterior and topped with a gold flecked chocolate piece…Words cannot describe how good this was, it’s really chocolate at its perfection.

Feeling like I had a pretty unbalanced diet of sweets to healthiness today, I finished the day off with a large salad of baby arugula, cheese, sun dried tomatoes and paper-thin slices of prosciutto with a balsamic dressing…I’m officially in a pastry coma..

3 Responses to “{Paris part 5: C&G’s operation maximum pastry consumption}”
  1. foodtable says:

    Very impressive! Love all your paris posts thus far. By the way, not food-related, but you wonder why the students/young people were striking along with the “older workers”? They are doing so because of high unemployment. The job market is so tight that “younger workers” already have a very hard time competing for jobs in their age group, so to speak, but when “older workers” are still working when they should supposedly retired, then it is that much harder for everyone.

    • eatrundesign says:

      ahh, very interesting, that makes sense!! yes, me and the boy were wondering what was going on, all our channels were in french so we were not clued in on all the details, thanks 🙂

      plenty more paris delicious-ness to come too 🙂

  2. Babygirl says:

    OMG I wish I was there.. I just blogged about wanting to travel to france. I am so hungry now lol

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